Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Week of Miracles

After months and months without any rain, Sousa got rain!!   It was after 9:00 and the four of us Sisters were back in our apartment when the clouds open and let loose!  With the intensity of the rain, we shut the windows to keep out the water, and went about our normal routine.  The Elders had warned us that the apartment had issues with the rain, but none of us were concerned.  About 15 minutes after the rain had started, I was sitting on my bed writing in my journal when Sister Borges walked into my room and said, "Hey, look down at your feet!"  I looked down, and saw a huge puddle of water slowing creeping out from under my bed and surrounding my feet!  I looked back at the window - completely closed - yet, somehow our room was becoming an indoor swimming pool!  We quickly moved everything off the floor and into a dry place, but other than that there wasn't much we could do except pray that our mattresses would float!  As I slopped around my room in our puddle of water, getting ready for bed, I couldn't help but think, "Yep, now this is what a mission is all about!"

As I described in my last email, we are teaching three super elect young woman right now!  This past week, we taught them the Plan of Salvation.  Everything went smoothly, and they didn't have any questions or concerns.  However, one of the girls seemed to have something on her mind.  I asked her what was bothering her, but she wouldn't open up with us. The following days, I become very preoccupied with her, and was constantly thinking about what was bothering her, and how we could help her.  One morning in particular, I prayed to know what we should teach them in our following visit.  Our current plans were to start teaching the commandments, but I wanted to know if maybe we should teach something else to better meet her needs.  After my prayer, I opened up the Book of Mormon and started to read. About a page in, I the thought, "Teach them about the Atonement," came to my mind.  This thought confused me because we had just finished teaching about the Plan of Salvation which includes the Atonement.  However, I couldn't shake the impression that we needed to teach them about the Atonement.  As I pondered about what we should focus on with the Atonement, I remembered an article that I had brought with me entitled, "His Grace is Sufficient" -Brad Wilcox.  I pulled it out, and started reading; it was perfect!  Sister Oliveira and   I planned a beautiful lesson about the Atonement and felt good about our preparation.  However, when we arrived at the girls' apartment, they all seemed perfectly fine, chipper, and not worried about a thing.  I doubted myself for a moment and wondered if we should just go on and teach them the commandments.  Yet, the impression to continue with our lesson about the Atonement was overpowering.  We began by asking them questions about what they were learning in the Church, and how they thought these things and the Gospel in general would change their lives.  I then asked them if they thought these changes would be difficult.  When I asked this question, it was as if I had opened up a flood gate.  All three of the girls began commenting on the high standards of the Church and how it would be difficult to change everything at once, e tudo isso.  It was incredible as I listened to their concerns and realized that the lesson we had planned about the Atonement would answer all of their worries and doubts!  I had them open up to 3 Nephi 12:48 and read the commandment that Christ gave us to be perfect. I explained to them that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are perfect and have a fullness of joy.  Likewise, they want us to have this same level of happiness and peace in our lives, so they give us commandments and principles to follow in order to help us become more perfect.  However, I explained, we will never be perfect in this life.  We then read Mosiah 3:19    how the natural man is an enemy to God, unless he allows the Atonement to work in him and to purify him.  I then used the great example of how the Atonement relates to taking piano lessons that our parents have payed for.  Because our parents have payed for the price of the lessons, they ask us to practice.  They know that practice will never repay them, but they also know that in order for us to improve as a pianist we need to practice.  In the course of our practice we will naturally hit many wrong notes, but does this mean that we should give up? - of course not!  I explained to the three girls that right now they are looking at a very complicated or difficult piece of music.  They know that it won't be easy, and that they will probably mess up, but does that mean that they should just throw it in the bag, not even try, or begin to try but give up when they don't play it    perfectly on the first try?  I explained to them that the Savior already payed for all of our mistakes and sins.  He knows that we won't be perfect, but he also knows what will help us in the process to become perfect, and what will help us be truly happy in this life.  As we were finishing the lesson, I asked one of the girls how she felt when she learned about the Church's standards with piercings, tatoos, and clothing.  She replied, "It didn't bother me, I just remembered what you taught us about holding onto the iron rod and enduring to the end!  I'm going to hold onto the iron rod, and it doesn't matter what others say or think!"  Hearing her say those words filled me with a special kind of happiness that I have never felt before!  I love this Gospel! I am so grateful for the Spirit that guided my companion and I to teach a lesson that would answer the doubts and questions that these young girls had.  If we hadn't followed the Spirit, I don't know if these girls would have stuck with us.  This Gospel is true!  We have the power of personal revelation to guide our lives and bless our families.

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